Death and dying seems to have been a bit of a topic this week for me. Firstly I went to the conference on death, dying and the undead. That generated a few conversations. I recounted how I wanted my mortal remains dealt with when I was in my twenties and possibly even into my early thirties. At that stage we had oodles of fish tanks. More than one in each room and eventually the garage and outdoor shed were also lined with tanks. We liked a species of fish (cichlids) that if you put different varieties together they ended up fighting it out to the death. Naturally we were unaware of this early in the piece buying many varieties and putting them together when they were young and small. As they grew so did the aggression and we couldn’t bear to see the weaker fish being pecked to pieces — hence all the tanks.
My ideal burial at that time was that I be placed in a six-foot tank filled with formalin in the lounge room so that I could remain a part of things. A silent omnipresent being. My ex husband didn’t seem to mind but Roger told me under no circumstances would he have me floating so. I had to make a choice of a conventional style arrangement.
Often people find discussing these matters so difficult that they never do. Such was the case with my girlfriend whose husband died recently. She didn’t know what he wanted and it has been such a difficult decision for her to decide where she should bury him. We think she made the right choice by taking him home to his beloved home country where he is now in the family grave with his mother but I know over time she and her girls will probably wish he was still in Australia and wonder where he would have liked to be – near them or his parents.
For others they decide to prepare for their own demise:
The diagnosis hit like a sixty-pound sledge-hammer.
“We can’t tell you how long. The cancer’s very close to the artery. It’s a matter of when it erodes through. It could be a matter of days or a few months. Sorry but not long.”
Stanley made the phone calls. Friends rallied from near and far for a last weekend together.
“Bury me, don’t burn me.” Stanley said.
We headed to the cemetery and found a peaceful plot overlooking the sea. “I’ll be happy here. I always did feel comfortable underground.”
“Mining Engineer was a good career choice then.”
And sometimes when you prepare you find the days, weeks, months turn happily to years. New treatments are being discovered all the time. I know the real Stanley sees each new day as a gift of time. The trial drug seems to have stopped it dead in its tracks. For how long no-one knows but he rests easy knowing his arrangements are in place for his final resting place.
This post is in response to Charli’s prompt where she asks:
October 21, 2015 prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story about a final resting place. You can take any perspective that appeals to you from the historic to the horrific. Just don’t scare me too greatly. You can also choose to write about those buried before they came to their final rest. An extra challenge is to discover a story or character from a local cemetery. I double-dog dare you to join me with your own cemetery day!
Respond by October 27, 2015 to be included in the weekly compilation. Rules are here. All writers are welcome!